This article should take 3 minutes to read.
Now Qantas has been in the media lately including the tail-end of 2019 for reasons that I will discuss further below and I should warn you, this will be a long read. But if you just want to know the points I will be discussing here they are Retiring their 747s, Storage of A380s, A321XLR Orders to replace 737s and Replacing the 747s.
We have all been disheartened by the news of airlines retiring their 747s over the past few years but with 2020 steamrolling the aviation industry we have been saying goodbye to these beauties even more frequently. At the start of the year, Qantas had quite the array of 747s still flying around the world but now they have vanished from their schedules, for good. The Queen of the Skies has been with the airline since 1971 but now they’re heading for a well-deserved retirement but before you start blaming the crisis for causing this it has been on the cards for a considerable amount of time with a planned retirement in 2021. But Qantas has also operated the 747-200s as well which helped put the airline on the global airline market and helped shape the future of Australia’s tourism. Now retiring this aircraft doesn’t just affect schedules but it has been noted in a press release that 220 pilots, 1,050 cabin crew and 630 engineers will be losing their jobs. It is sad to see this happen but sadly this is the issue we are faced with in the Aviation industry but this isn’t the only aircraft affected in their fleet.
We have all seen the A380 whether it be in an Emirates livery or ANA’s fantastic paints but the Qantas A380 has helped connect Australia to far fetched destinations and transport a lot of passengers. The Airline has announced that they will fly the Whales to the Mojave Desert until at least 2023. But this isn’t the only airline that has mothballed their A380s such as Singapore Airlines which has stored theirs at Alice Springs in Australia along with other airlines who have stored theirs at other locations around the world but today Air France has retired all of their A380s for good and will not be bringing them back. Qantas CEO said in a press release “We have to position ourselves for several years where revenue will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term. Most airlines will have to restructure in order to survive, which also means they’ll come through this leaner and more competitive. For all these reasons, we have to take action now.”. This action will result in 6000 jobs lost and a further 15,000 in the future. But that hasn’t stopped the airline from making new plans.
Now during 2019, we saw the announcement that the airline was ordering 36 A321XLRs scheduled to be delivered by 2024 but one thing we wanted to find out was whether the current global situation has affected these at all. In May the Airline announced that they would be deferring some of the deliveries but this did not include the A321 so at this stage you could continue to expect them to be delivered on time but we have seen 3 787s and 18 A321neos (Jetstar) be deferred instead. The reason behind their rapid ordering for new single-aisle aircraft could be speculated that they want to replace their ageing 737-800s which developed hairline cracks in the pickle fork of three of their older 800s. But with the aircraft being larger than the 737-800 it could be a potential replacement for the older A330s. There could also be potential for the aircraft entering into service with Jetstar since it will fit perfectly into their international operations but that is something that we will need to find out when the year 2024 is closer.
One thing that is for sure is that Qantas is tackling this crisis head on with new aircraft orders and changing their schedules to still include predicted travel demand with them replacing the 747s with 787s on select routes. One thing that is for sure is that the aviation industry will not be the same for a considerable amount of time but we all hope that soon we can fly halfway around the world and just enjoy ourselves.